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Wiltshire Community History

Grimstead Search Results

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This page is one of 261 pages covering every community in Wiltshire, and is provided by Wiltshire Council Libraries and Heritage. A project to provide a fuller picture of each community is in progress, working on the larger communities first. When these 261, which are modern civil parishes, are completed we will begin work on a further 180 villages and hamlets to provide comprehensive coverage of Wiltshire communities large and small.

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1773:

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1773

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1810:

From Andrews' and Dury's Map of Wiltshire, 1810

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, Chippenham

This is a corrected and updated edition of the 1773 map that includes the recently built canals.

Map of the Civil Parish of Grimstead:

Map of the Civil Parish of Grimstead

Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre

From the Ordnance Survey 1890s revision of the one inch to one mile map. The modern civil parish boundary has been superimposed.

Thumbnail History:

Grimstead is a civil parish in the south of Wiltshire comprising the villages of West and East Grimstead. It is seven miles south east of Salisbury. The two villages of West and East Grimstead were not united as a single civil parish until 1934, despite a previous attempt to create the single parish in 1895. The proposal to combine the two was defeated and therefore they remained separate until the 1930s. The two small villages lie either side of the Salisbury to Southampton railway line, with Pepperbox Hill and the scarp slope of West dean Hill to the south. To the west of West Grimstead is Whaddon and Alderbury, well known for brick making, while to the north of East Grimstead is Farley; both villages were owned by the Fox Strangways family in the 18th century. However East Grimstead is mostly associated with West Dean, of which it was a chapelry.
There is evidence of Roman occupation in East Grimstead. An archaeological excavation at the start of the 20th century found the remains of a Roman villa. It was first discovered in the spring of 1914 when the farmer, Mr Penn of Maypole Farm, saw that his crop had failed in a part of a field and that flint and stones had been uncovered by his plough. The family decided to try a little amateur digging and soon found a hypocaust chamber. Salisbury Museum then fully excavated the site. This first discovery by the family turned out to be a bath house and within it there were some coins, an ornament, a bronze bangle and some oyster shells. Following this, second and third bath houses were also found. Heywood Sumner, the man who fully excavated the site, concluded that the villa would have been occupied by a wealthy owner. He said; “His standard of life was both comfortable and tasteful . . . . He kept warm in winter. He bathed luxuriously. He liked beautiful objects - such as fine glass vessels and Samian pottery. His daily life was secure. No defence was needed against a possible enemy. His land was cultivated and he kept cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats and dogs.”

Grimstead is mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086 and estates are in three different holdings. It would appear that what we now know as West and East Grimstead were of similar size. East Grimstaed was held by Herbert from Waleran the Huntsman; the land was three hides (about 340 acres) and there were 10 acres of meadow and an area of woodland. The estate had a population of between 55 and 65 people and Herbert himself farmed half the land with two serfs and one plough team. Interestingly the five villeins had three plough teams between as well, although all the land could have been ploughed by three teams. Two small estates apparently made up West Grimstead, both owned by the King's Serjeants, who were both Saxons. Cola held 1 1/2 hides with one plough, while the son of Aiulf held the same acreage with two ploughs. Cola's estate had nothing else and a population of about 20, but the other possessed 14 acres of meadow, four furlongs of pasture and a mill; the population was about 25. Together they were worth 55 shillings and East Grimstead was worth 60 shillings.

In the tax list of 1332 West Grimstead paid more tax and appears to be more populous but as the only people who held a certain (unknown) amount of land were taxed it is difficult to know; there were 12 taxpayers in East Grimstead and 16 in West Grimstead, but among the latter was the lord of the maon, John of Grymstede.

By 1700, West Grimstead is noted as having about 38 farmhouses and cottages, built primarily of timber and brick with smaller buildings constructed of cob and thatch. By the 18th century the manor was a part of the Ilchester estate and belonged to Sir Stephen Fox, Earl of Ilchester. It was sold to the Earl of Radnor in 1801 and remained in that family until 1916 when the villagers were given an opportunity to buy their tenanted properties. Only a few cottages in West Grimstead can now be identified as thatch and cob, and they include Ada Cottage, Sunnyside, Keeper's House and Tudor Cottage. Ada Cottage was bought in 1921 by Ada Earley, hence the name.

The parish population has fluctuated as would be expected in a rural parish of Grimstead's size. The population was 327 (148 in East and 179 in West) and by 1861 this had risen to 387 (136 East, 251 West) dropping to 321 (121 East, 200 West) in 1901 and rising slightly to 367 in 1961. By 1971, and after an expansion of council housing, this had risen to 559 and in 2001 there were 518 people resident in the parish.

In the middle of the 19th century, the Longford estate built several workers cottages in the village using many bricks from the brickworks on Windwhistle Lane.
The oldest house in the village of West Grimstead is thought to be Emmott's Farm, which dates from the 16th century. It was bought in 1731 by Philip Emmott, who gave his name to the farm.
At the start of the 20th century, a house called Hollyville was being run as a bakery and shop by Mr. Henry Penn and it used old fashioned faggot heated ovens. Later in the 20th century the bakery had to close followed by the general stores in 1976. It is now a private house called Silver Birches
In 1957, Bankside, a group of six council houses were built, followed by the Greenfields estate in 1962. This estate of 39 houses and bungalows brought about a rise in population.
Electricity was brought to the parish in 1938, although some houses were not connected up until the late 1950s, and this was followed by gas in 1963. The parish was connected to the main sewerage network in 1973.

The village hall was built in 1912 and 1913. It was initially referred to as the Parish Room and was built by local residents. Lord Radnor provided the services of an architect, and farmers transported the building materials there under the direction of local builder Mr Penn. The hall was built in West Grimstead at a cost of £435 and was used by young people as a meeting place and as a venue for dances, concerts and wedding receptions. It was also used as a library and later became known as the Village Hall. The village also has a War Memorial which was erected in the churchyard in 1920.

Until the start of the 18th century, the system of strip farming was the most important in the parish. Enclosure began to affect Grimstead at the start of the 19th century and by the middle of that century, in 1855, there were six farmers in West Grimstead and this number remained the same until World War Two. The largest farm in the parish was Manor Farm. In the 18th century it was owned by the eminent Wiltshireman Sir Stephen Fox of Farley and then his son Henry, who became Earl of Ilchester. Grimstead was affected by the Swing Riots of 1830. A threshing machine belonging to farmer Timothy Rumbold, who lived at Manor Farm, was destroyed and burnt and the men responsible were transported and not allowed to return home for seven years. Farming was the most important occupation in the villages, as well as associated trades such as brick making and thatching. In Kelly's Directory of 1915 the occupations of residents in West Grimstead are listed as farmers, cattle dealer, brick maker, a constable, shop keeper, post master and game keeper.

Spring Cottage was used as an inn until 1956 and it held a licence to sell cider, wine and beer, but in 1884 the building burnt down and was totally rebuilt the year after. Until the second half of the 20th century the ancient practice of charcoal burning took place in the parish; kilns used maple and hazel wood to make charcoal that was used by artists and as fuel for cooking.
The very first parish meeting for West Grimstead took place in 1894. The following year, it was proposed that West and East Grimstead should came together as one civil parish, and as this would have brought the population of the parish to over 300, they were entitled to have a Parish council. However, as the villages were not united as one until 1934, West Grimstead continued to have only a Parish meeting.

The parish seemed to enjoy marking royal events. For the coronation of Edward VII there was a church service and lavish lunch, as well as sports and dancing. At the coronation of George V a sports event was held and a band played, while Lord Radnor gave gifts of commemorative mugs to the school children. Both the coronation of Elizabeth II and her silver jubilee were marked in Grimstead; there were sports events and gifts for children on both occasions and an acer tree was planted in the grounds of the school to mark the event of the silver jubilee.

During World War Two members of the Royal Corps of Signals were stationed in the parish.

The Salisbury and Southampton canal passed through the parish and there are two locks to the north of West Grimstead. They were built at the end of the 18th century by labourers who came from the Midlands. The canal came into use at the start of the 19th century and barges would transport coal. A cottage was built for the lock-keeper and was known, rather oddly, as the Railway Cottage. The final section up to Salisbury was never completed because the money ran out and the railway soon eclipsed any usefulness that this section of canal may have had. The railway crossed over the line of the canal several times and the line of the canal is still visible behind East Grimstead church, where the only surviving bridge on this canal can be seen. The London to Southampton railway came to the parish in January 1847 when a branch line from Bishopstoke to Salisbury opened. Initially it only carried goods, but by March 1847 passengers also travelled on the line. The line was built by navigators (“navvies”) who made their presence firmly felt in the parish. There was no local station on the line.

Parish Web Site
CouncilWiltshire Council
Web Sitewww.wiltshire.gov.uk
Parish CouncilGrimstead Parish Council
Parish Emailliz.bayford@btinternet.com

Churches: Information on both current and disused churches and chapels.

Church of St. John, West Grimstead
Church of the Holy Trinity, East Grimstead
Primitive Methodists, West Grimstead
Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, West Grimstead
Schools: Information on both current and closed schools.

Population 1801 - 2001

Photographs: If images have been added for this community they are available here.: We hold a collection of over 50,000 photographs of places in Wiltshire in the County Local Studies Library. These may be viewed at this library and copies of out of copyright material may be purchased. We can search for a picture of a building or event if you e-mail us with details.

Historical Sources: A select list of books and articles is listed in 'Printed material'. You may go directly to the actual text from some of these.

Printed Material: This is a select book-list for the community but in the case of a town there may be hundreds more books, pamphlets and journal articles.

The full text of some items is available to view on this site.

A History of Wiltshire, Vol. II (Domesday)
Church Bells of Wiltshire: their inscriptions and history
Excavations at East Grimstead, Wiltshire, Being a discovery of a Roman villa
The Buildings of England: Wiltshire, pgs. 38, 230, 563
The Church Plate of the County of Wilts.
The Place-Names of Wiltshire, p. 379
Warburton Census of Wiltshire Schools
West Grimstead: a village history
West Grimstead: Pictures of the past
West Grimstead: Village Design Statement
Wiltshire Dissenters' Meeting House Certificates and Registrations 1689-1852
Wiltshire Schools: A Short History
Wiltshire Village Reading Rooms
Wiltshire Villages, p. 22

The Victoria History of Wiltshire (opens in new window) is a partnership between local authorities and the Institute of Historical Research at London University. The History of Wiltshire is now the largest county history in the country and is still growing. The volumes are divided between general and topographical with Volumes One to Five covering subjects such as prehistory, ecclesiastical, economic and political history. The Volumes from Six onwards are topographical and will ultimately provide a comprehensive and systematic history of every single town and parish in the county.

(opens in new window) Explore Wiltshire's Past web site

Newspapers from 1738: These newspapers covered this community at different times. Newspaper titles in bold text are either the ones you should check first for information about this community.

Salisbury Journal 1738
Salisbury Times 1898 to 2000
Avon Advertiser 1979
Salisbury & Wiltshire Herald 1833 to 1852
Sherborne Mercury 1737 to 1867

Maps: listed below are maps on which you can find this community. All maps are Ordnance Survey maps.

Map Type Map Sheet Reference
O.S. National Grid Reference SU 226278
O.S. 25 inch County Series 1870s-194072/3
O.S. 6 inch County Series 1870s-194072
O.S. 1:2500 metric edition; 1950s onwardSU 2026-2126; 2027-2127; 2227-2327; 2228-2328
O.S. 1:10000 metric edition; 1950s onwardSU 22 NW
O.S. Explorer131
O.S. Landranger184
Geological Sheet298

Map of Grimstead

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Map showing Panoramio pictures and Wikipedia entries for the area around Grimstead

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Archaeological Sites: A Sites and Monuments Record (opens new window) is maintained by the County Archaeology Service and covers some 20,000 sites.

The Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society was formed in 1853 and have been publishing an annual journal since 1854. The journal contains both substantial articles and shorter notes on archaeological excavations, finds, museum objects, local history, genealogy and natural history.

Folk Arts:

There were no Folk Songs found for Grimstead

There were no Folk Biographies found for Grimstead

There were no Folk Plays found for Grimstead

History of Buildings: The collections of the Wiltshire Buildings Record are housed in the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre at Chippenham’.

Listed Buildings: The number of buildings, or groups of buildings, listed as being of architectural of historic importance is 14. There are no Grade I buildings; and 1 Grade II*, the Church of St. John.

English Heritage and National Monuments Record

Local Authors: There could be an author who was born or has lived in this community.

Literary Associations: Some communities have featured in novels or may have been the main setting for a book.

Registration Districts: If you want to obtain a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate you can contact the local registrar.

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Wiltshire & Swindon Archives

Wiltshire Wills Search by name, occupation, or subject for details of a will from this parish held in the Wiltshire & Swindon Record Office.

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